13 January 2010

Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service is warning people about the dangers of frozen-over lakes.

With further cold weather in the county, people are reminded that they should steer clear of frozen waterways and lakes and ensure their children and pets are also kept away from the edges.

Northamptonshire’s fire and rescue service has recently invested in equipment and training to enhance their capability in managing these types of incidents including rapid deployment craft and ice rescue paths to enable firefighters to gain access to affected areas and reach anyone in difficulty. This is in addition to the specialist equipment which is carried on all of Northamptonshire’s fire appliances and the service also has specifically trained swift water rescue technicians with specialist equipment who can be deployed as well.

Fire brigade manager Adrian Davies said: “A frozen lake or waterway can look tempting, but you can’t tell whether the ice is thick enough to hold your weight. If you do see someone in difficulty, not try to rescue them yourself as you could end up in trouble as well. Instead call 999 and give the emergency services as much information as you can about your location.

“We’re also asking people to take note of any signs or buoys often found near waterways; these are often removed or vandalized so it’s important that they are reported so that they can be repaired or replaced.”

Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities said: “As a parent myself, I know that there is lots of fun to be had for families when the weather turns cold and snowy, but it’s vital that people stay away from frozen water.

“Ice-related drowning is easily preventable by not going near frozen lakes or rivers and ensuring that children are kept away as well and dogs are kept on a lead, even near the banks because snow can obscure the edges. We want everyone to stay safe in the cold weather so make sure everyone in your family is aware of the risks when playing outside.”